On Monday 24 July a small group gathered outside Waipukurau Centre to take part in karakia to put the building to sleep and ensure that all the demolition work that is carried out over the next ten weeks are safe and without incident or harm.
Hastings Demolition have taken over the building and will spend the first week preparing, fencing and clearing the internal areas before working on bringing the building down.
The decision was made to demolish the building due to concerns regarding the age and condition of the building following a seismic assessment that indicated the poor condition of the 22 Ruataniwha Street site. Strengthening the building was not a viable option, and this, along with other issues such as leaks, water damage and timber degradation led to the final decision that the building would come down.
No decision has been made about what will happen next, but in the short-term another site has been secured further along Ruataniwha Street (the old KiwiBank).
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga kaimahi at the karakia were joined by TeTaiwhenua o Tamatea chairperson Jenny Nelson-Smith and Hastings Demolition Project Manager and Health & Safety Manager.
Jenny gave a kōrero about how the building started out as Dalgety's to provide supplies to the farming community in the 1950s.
“In the 1980’s Te Whatui-Apiti marae gathered to see what they could do for their whānau and this building is where things started for them. They held hui and through whanungatanga realised that most of the whānau worked in the health sector and this is how Central Health came about,” says Jenny.
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga purchased the building along with a property in Otane in 2019.
Dan from Hastings Demolition provided information on their strong focus on being green. Where they can, materials such as native timber will be salvaged and recycled. Hastings Demolition are also aware that asbestos is present in the building and will manage the risks and hazards that come with this very carefully.
A traffic Management Plan is in place and detours for walkways will be in place with the site being fully fenced-off to the public and alternative walkways being provided.